“Noli Me Tangere, ” an exhibition by artist Kelvin Burzon, will be presented from August 30 to December 30. 10 at the contact points gallery. Admission is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m. or by appointment, with appropriate social distancing and face masks worn over the nose and mouth. Guided tours will be available virtually or on request.
Kelvin Burzon is a Filipino-American artist whose work explores the intersections of sexuality, race, gender, and religion. As a child growing up in a Filipino culture, Burzon’s initial ambition was to become a Catholic priest. “I have always been interested in the role of religion in culture and family relationships and have been drawn to the traditions, imagery, theatricality and psychological vestiges of religion,” Burzon explains. His work is inspired by the cerebral influences that have grown in and around the church. “My cultural and family identity, my childhood memories, cannot be separated from the church. It was an integral part of what it meant to be Filipino, ”Burzon adds.
Burzon received a Masters of Fine Arts from Indiana University’s School of Art + Design, where he developed his most recent works. There he was a member of the African American Dance Company, where he blossomed into a collaborative performance venue. This outlet sparked interest in critical race theory, the role of photography in people’s social identities, storytelling, gaps in records and performance. Burzon received a bachelor’s degree from Wabash College, where he studied studio art and music. There he became acquainted with painting, sculpture, ceramics and photography. He studied musical history, violin and piano performance, vocal performance and years of ethnomusicology.
Burzon continues to push his work with inspirations from the past, recontextualized narratives and images of religion, coupled with the endless stimulation and inspiration of the LGBTQ + community. He seeks to push the boundaries of his work by visually redefining and creating a new narrative for himself and those like him.
“Noli Me Tangere”, “Don’t Touch Me” or “Don’t Tread On Me” (in Latin) is a series of photographs that examines an internal conflict between homosexuality and Catholicism. The photographs address, but are not intended to resolve, the conflicts between religion and homosexuality. Using appropriate religious imagery and language, the work is recontextualized by the insertion of LGBTQ members and activists posing as Catholic deities. The themes, lighting and color treatment are borrowed from the works of Renaissance artists. The photographs are then presented in the form of polyptychs in the style of Catholic altarpieces.
This program is made possible through the support of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of Cultural Engagement for the Hispanic Community, and the Coalition of Museums and Art Centers at Syracuse University, and is part of Symposium 2021 -2022 from the Center for Human Sciences of the University. “Conventions.”